The Waiting Room - by David Bowmore (Flash Fiction 2021)

 David Bowmore was born on a winter’s night during a mighty storm. Forty-five years later he started writing. He has lived here, there and everywhere, but now he lives in Yorkshire with his wonderful wife and a small white poodle. David has worked many jobs in his time. These include being a head chef in a respected restaurant, a personable teacher, and a landscape gardener.

Since 2018, David’s stories have been published in more than fifty anthologies. It is safe to say, he has been surprised by the reception some of his flights of fantasy have received. In 2020, his award-winning book of connected short stories, The Magic of Deben Market, was performed by BookStreamz. It is available to buy from Amazon, as is his best of collection, Tall Tales & Short Fiction – A Multi-Genre Collection.

Visit his Amazon profile www.amazon.co.uk/David-Bowmore or his website www.davidbowmore.co.uk for more information.


The Waiting Room

by David Bowmore
 
She was elegant, in a way one does not expect to see in these modern times. That would make sense, for she was a lady who must have experienced eighty years. The sound of the zip pulling her much-loved wax jacket closed, announced her entrance into the waiting room.
 “I have to come back in three weeks,” she said to the man sitting quietly studying the crossword. Her voice reinforced the opinion forming in the minds of the other patients who looked her way; despite her advanced years, she was a force of nature.
Whereas she was elegant, he was well-fed. He grunted as he stood, rolled his newspaper into a rough tube and wedged it between arm and ample body. His stomach made an awkward barrier his head had to cross, as he leaned forward to kiss her tilting cheek. He may have been younger than her, but the older one becomes, the less important these things are.
“Really, why?” His voice could only be described as theatrical. In another life he may well have been a great actor, for he surely knew the whole world was a stage and the three other people present were his audience.
“Because I haven't been cleaning my teeth properly, dear.”
“BLOODY HELL! Your mouth is full of decayed teeth and my soul of decayed ambitions,” he misquoted, making the little boy sitting next to his mother giggle. The woman shushed her son and the old man winked at him.
“You will have to pay, dear,” she said, when they stood before the reception desk a few minutes later.  
“Why? They’re your teeth.”
“Don’t be difficult, dear. I paid last time if you remember. You had X-rays.”
“Did I?”
“Yes.”
“What on?”
“Your teeth.”
“Really, I don't remember.”
“I do.”
“That will be seventy pounds please,” said the receptionist.
“What? I'll have to sell a kidney.” He slid a card into the handheld machine. “Didn’t dentists used to do a bit of surgery in the old days? Perhaps she’ll take part in an exchange? Will you ask her for me?”
The receptionist smiled, but said nothing. It was obvious that she didn’t know what to say beyond the expected responses of the role she had to play.
“Don’t make a fuss, dear.” Then addressing the girl behind the desk, the force of nature said, “I should like to make an appointment for three weeks’ time. Do you think you can manage that?”
The time and date were set, and the appointment card was handed to the woman who slipped it into an ancient crocodile handbag.
As he held the door open for his wife, he said “Life is short, my love, and we are but brief specks of dust in the long years of this lonely planet.
“Let us eat cake!”
No one heard her response as the door clicked into its closed position.
Three weeks later she returned, dressed entirely in black; she carried herself with impeccable dignity and perfect poise.
Elegance personified, even alone.

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